By David Cuillier | November 25th, 2008
New Zealand papers and The Associated Press are some of the media barred from covering the big Cricket Australia tournament because they refuse to sign agreements giving tournament organizers control of their pictures and stories, according to a story by The Australian.
Kudos to Reuters, AP, and the newspapers for standing united against this growing problem in athletic events. Cricket Australia wanted media to sign contracts that would give CA the right to control where their content is posted online. The CA spokesman said, “We’re happy for (material) to go to bona fide news sites but we have a concern about it going to questionable sites.”
Journalists should not yield to these forms of censorship and control over content, including policies enforced by the NFL and high school athletic associations. In order for getting field and press box access, journalists are providing these organizations the rights to their photos and video, or limiting their ability to post video online. It’s all about money. The NFL wants to control online content and the high school groups want to sell reprint photos to parents at outrageous prices (so they want to prevent newspapers from selling reprints to have a lock on the market, even though we newspapers don’t make much money from reprints – it’s about community service and good will).
If this is happening in your state, stand united against these efforts to control your content. Do not sign these contracts. Refuse to cover the events and tell readers/viewers why. Many of these groups are subsidized fully or in part by taxpayers. Turn and fight, and then hold the line!